Introduction: Psychological assessment of Roma children belongs to the most controversial topics in recent theory and practice of school psychology in Slovakia. The paper discusses the problem from the three main aspects.
Discussion: The first of them raises into question the usability of “general intelligence” construct in the assessment practice. It is shown that from the psychometric point of view it is improper to represent couple of qualitatively different attributes by sole number. Moreover, intelligence as a construct refers to general mental achievement of child here and now but it says nothing about the causes and reasons of the achievement.
The second part is devoted to the problem of test adaptation. The author draws attention to the fact that Roma people are the minority with own characteristics, including language, style of life, customs and values. Due to this, it is necessary to use in the psychological assessment solely well adapted psychological tests with special norms for Roma children.
The third topic discusses the position of psychologists in decision-making with regard to the type of education of a particular child.
Limitations: Because education is realized in a broad social context (policy, social attitudes and expectations, material and financial conditions, teaching expertise, etc.), many of these factors are out of psychologists´ direct control and competencies. Due to this, the primary task in the psychological assessment of Roma pupils should not be based on the question about the advisability of their special education. Instead of this, the psychologist should be concerned more on the proper description and explanation of children’s psychological functioning and, following this, on formulating individual and particular recommendations how and what cognitive, emotional or motivational elements it is necessary to develop at school.
Ján Ferjenčík, Miriam Slavkovská and Juraj Kresila
The paper reports on the adaptation of a D-KEFS test battery for Slovakia. Drawing on concrete examples, it describes and illustrates the key issues relating to the transfer of test items from one socio-cultural environment to another. The standardisation sample of the population of Slovak pupils in the fourth year of primary school included 250 children with an average age of 9.7 years. The two comparative samples of the same age range were analysed at the same time. They included pupils from classes for gifted children (n = 55) and Roma children from socially disadvantaging environments (n = 50).
The results manifested a significant skewness in most distributions of the D- -KEFS primary indicator raw scores. The nature of the skewness suggests that these indicators are more sensitive at discriminating the performance of weaker children but not at discriminating within the above-average performance range. The distribution in the Roma children sample was skewed to the opposite value. Most of the Roma children found the tests from the D-KEFS battery, especially those based on verbal materials, too difficult and so it only differentiated results achieved by the best in the group. Comparisons of the mean scores in all the primary indicators (One-way ANOVA) highlight the need to establish specific norms for the standard population of Slovak children on the one hand and for Roma children from socially disadvantaging environment on the other